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An L.A. biotech billionaire who tried to buy the Orange County Register two years ago has agreed to buy the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune for $590 million, including pension liabilities.
News reports said Patrick Soon-Shiong is buying the papers from Chicago-based tronc Inc., in which Soon-Shiong is a shareholder.
The Times publishes Costa Mesa Daily Pilot, in addition to its main paper's circulation in OC.
Physician Soon-Shiong is founder and chief executive of NantHealth, based in Culver City, and No. 1 on the Los Angeles Business Journal’s 2017 list of Wealthiest Angelenos.
Soon-Shiong and Tribune Publishing were the high bidders for the Register two years ago, but were blocked by the Justice Department on anti-trust grounds.
Ultimately the Register and all of Irvine-based Freedom Communications sold to hedge fund-owned Digital First Media. Digital First runs local and regional papers under the aegis of Southern California News Group -- which itself has recently been the subject of sale speculation.